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Do you know your green burial options in Washington state?

You have the chance to join a growing movement of environmentally-conscious people making environmentally-conscious choices about their burial. In Washington, there are several legal precedents and resources to help.

Are green burials rare or unusual?

Thankfully, funeral homes across the nation recognize changing cultural attitudes around the funeral industry. More and more people want options that help them feel at peace spiritually and ease their conscience about their final use of resources.

Although cremations are a popular choice, every year they release an estimated 600 million pounds of carbon dioxide. On the other hand, traditional burials often include carcinogenic embalming fluids, concrete burial vaults and metal adornments on caskets that never decompose.

Green burials offer a middle ground. The term covers a spectrum of options that aim to minimize the use of non-biodegradable materials. This can include choosing from different products in a funeral home situation, or ultimately choosing a nature conservancy as your burial ground.

What is available in Washington?

The Green Burial Council (GBC) is a national nonprofit that recognizes cemeteries, funeral homes and other burial service providers for their efforts to provide services and products with a reduced environmental impact. However, many unrecognized groups provide equally excellent options.

With a little bit of scrolling through the GBC website, you can find many burial sites available in Washington that either combine traditional with green burial methods or offer strictly green burial sites.

“Greener” options for funerals can always include home funerals (unfortunately home burials are, although possible, severely restricted in Washington), burials at sea and conservation burials.

Washington lawmakers are considering legalizing water cremation and human recomposition as well.That bill passed in the House in April 2019 and awaits Governor Inslee’s signature. It is expected to pass into law in May 2020.

With this, more and more options could become available for your burial in the future. Be sure your estate plan is flexible enough to accommodate these changing laws.

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To speak with an attorney at Gellner Law Group about estate planning, probate, trusts, wills or tax controversy, contact our law office in Kent, Washington, today. You can call 425-336-2908 or send us an email. We provide representation across the entire Seattle-Tacoma metropolitan area.

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